Kobeelya Girls’ School (1922-1986)
The Kobeelya Girls’ School was founded on September 14, 1922. The school’s official name was ‘Katanning Church of England Girls School’ but it was changed in 1951 to ‘Kobeelya Church of England Girls School’ when it was handled by a new establishment. It started as a home school in 1917 when Mrs. Mary Eleanor Burbidge, the wife of the local Anglican rector in Katanning, decided to teach her daughter together with other town children in their house. It was initially known as the ‘Brownies School’ and was registered officially two years later as the number of students increased and it was moved to the St. Andrew’s Parish Hall. The school finally transferred in 1922 to Kobeelya after the mansion was purchased using the 5000 pounds raised by the townspeople.
Unlike other schools, the Kobeelya Girls’ School’s educational philosophy did not focus solely in academics but in a balance between academic, cultural, and physical activities. The school promoted the participation of students to various extra-curricular activities in order for them to gain personal achievement through said activities. The school’s motto was ‘NEMO SIBI VIVAT’ which means ‘No man lives for himself.’
Kobeelya was the only school in Western Australia to have its own Pony Club. The school’s average number of students was less than a hundred. In 1975, the school closed down as the Church of England withdrew its support to Kobeelya. The following year, however, the school reopened as the ‘Kobeelya College Incorporated,’ managed by Penrhos and the Uniting Church. In June 1986, the Kobeelya School closed down for good as it continued to face financial difficulties over the years.
Today, the Kobeelya is being managed by the Katanning Baptist Church and functions as a conference center.
Kobeelya School Museum (1988-Present)
The Kobeelya School Museum was founded in 1988. It was initially located at the Old Roller Flour Mill until the Kobeelya Museum Association which comprised alumni from the school, decided to approach the Baptist Church to find out if there could be a space within the former school grounds to display the museum’s collection. The Coach House was offered to the association by the church and they raised funds to restore it to be the new home for the various Kobeelya School memorabilia. The new museum opened officially in 2007 and is currently being managed by the Old Kobeelyan’s Associati